October 12, 2003



Forget about the Liberal News Network If Al Gore and his business buddies really wanted to start a media outlet that would benefit America, another Fountain of Feedback is not what we need. Instead, consider the idea T. J. Sejnowski puts forward in Science's Tap into Science 24-7

C-SPAN reaches 80 million U.S. households, providing information on policy and politics 24 hours a day. It provides complete, unedited coverage of speeches and proceedings that affect public policy, without filtering by commentators and pundits. In Washington, D.C., C-SPAN is an ever-present part of the background buzz.

What we need is a C-SPAN for science: a cable science network (CSN). This network would carry live lectures by knowledgeable scientists on topics ranging from climate change to biological warfare, as well as debates on issues from the biological basis of aggression to missile defense. A wide range of programs is available from events such as the AAAS meetings, public conferences (4), and annual lectures (5). It is time for science to join the background buzz.

At times of crisis, such as the anthrax attacks in America in 2001, CSN would provide accurate, timely scientific information. Instead of hearing on a U.S. national TV broadcast that anthrax is a virus, concerned citizens could have had the world's leading experts on infectious disease available 24 hours a day. CSN would be more reliable than government sources: during the anthrax crisis, NIH scientists who had accurate information were not allowed to make public statements, even about the effects of stress on health. The recent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is another example where timely expert advice was needed.

You'll note he's not calling out for another Discovery or TLC, but a serious science network for serious people.

So, I put it to you, what would be best for the country at this time? A series of shows batting the He Said/She Said politics potato back and forth between the lying liars of DemLibs TV and the Lying Liars of Fox News, or a show that seriously covers and expands this nation's knowledge of science and technology? It's not rocket science. Indeed, the question seems to be more of a nobrainer than the Geraldo Show.

How to actually make it happen? I'm sure the Web has more than ideas. If you find any, leave them here. I'll be scanning as well.

Posted by Vanderleun at October 12, 2003 11:32 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"How to actually make it happen?"

All you gotta do put the word out that you've got a few million dollars to use to start up CSN and you'll find plenty of people willing to trade their skills and talents to make it happen.

Posted by: phil at October 12, 2003 2:19 PM